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Washington, DC To New York, NY On Amtrak's Vermonter
  I would start the day making the same trip back to Washington Union Station that I made the previous day. So at 5:00am, I had the hotel shuttle bring me back to Dulles Airport where I caught the Washington Flyer bus back to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Rail Station on the Silver Line and would make about an hour-long trek on the Metro Rail, switching to the Red Line at Metro Center Station, then taking that a few stops to Union Station. I would have a quick breakfast at McDonald's before heading over to Gate K as my train that would be taking me to New York was going to board on Track #27. I would ride Amtrak Train #56 - The Vermonter which is actually a state-sponsored train that begins its route on the Northeast Corridor at Washington, DC and runs all the way to St. Albans, VT. This train years ago was known as the Montrealer as it ran all the way to Montreal. I have heard there is a push to get it back there again someday. Union Station does its boarding calls by first boarding Business Class, then passengers with disabilities, then families with small children, then the rest of us, myself included. Our tickets would be checked by a member of the crew before walking downstairs and outside to the platform where the train was waiting for us. I would take down car numbers as I walked up the platform and get a few quick photos. The consist for today's train is shown below:
945 AEM-7AC   Power
9646 Control Coach   Coach/Cab Control Car (Ex-Metroliner)
82672 Amfleet I Coach   Coach
81541 Amfleet I Business Class   Coach (My Car)
82646 Amfleet I Coach   Coach
48158 Amfleet I Cafe Car   Cafe/Business Class
SPECIAL NOTE: Amfleet I Business Class Coach #81541 was being used as coach seating on this train even though the car is set up with a Business Class configuration with tables in the middle.
 A few notes about the consist of this train: The car I rode in was actually a Business Class car that was being used today as a coach! This would be awesome because the car is a former Metroliner car that basically has the seats spaced apart like you would find in an Amfleet II coach! What a deal!!! There are also tables inside the car where you can set up your laptop and/or other electronic gadgets or play a game with fellow passengers. The seats faced one way for about half the car, then the rest faced the other way. I've seen a similar setup to this on the Amtrak California cars and the Pacific Surfliner cars. This was the first time I ever rode in such an Amfleet car and the car itself rode very nice considering our top speed on the corridor would be 125mph! Though the train was busy, I didn't have a passenger sitting next to me for the entire run (though the seat was always open).
  The reason why there was a Control Coach behind the engine is because once this train gets to New Haven, CT, the AEM-7AC pulling it is cut off and a P42DC is added to the other end, allowing this train to operate in push-pull mode up to Springfield, MA on the Inland Route from New Haven to Springfield, MA and eventually onto St. Albans, VT. The Control Coach is a former Pennsylvania Railroad Metroliner car that Amtrak acquired in the early 1970's. The design of this car is what was used to design the Amfleet I cars that Budd built for Amtrak starting in 1975.
  We departed Washington Union Station on time at 8:10am. I set up my radio with the earphone and would take lots of photos as I was on the right side of the train for lighting purposes which today would be the Fireman's side (normally I prefer to sit on the Engineer's side of the train). We made our first stop at New Carrollton, MD at 8:19am which is a stop to pick up passengers only, departing there at 8:20am, running 2 minutes late. Our next stop would be at Baltimore Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport Station where we arrived at 8:34am and departed at 8:37am, running 2 minutes late. I remember operating trains on this route with Microsoft Train Simulator all those years ago which included an Acela Express train running on the corridor from DC to Philly, that was a fun game!!! We went through the big long tunnel under the city of Baltimore and would arrive at our next stop of Baltimore-Penn Station at 8:50am. This, like all stops would be quick and we would depart at 8:52am, running on time. We eventually went over the big bridge at Havre De Grace, MD over the Susquehanna River. You get an incredibly beautiful view of the river from this bridge! We then would pass through Perryville, MD and eventually head into the state of Delaware with the next stop coming up being Wilmington, which is also the hometown of our current Vice-President (and quite the Amtrak aficionado himself) Joe Biden. We arrived in Wilmington at 9:37am and quickly departed at 9:38am, running 2 minutes late. Though I was on the wrong side of the train to get any pictures of it, we did pass Amtrak's National Training Center in Wilmington and the Bear, DE Mechanical Shops which do all the heavy maintenance and repair on train such as the Acela Express trains and Amfleet coaches in this part of the country as well.
  We would eventually cross into Pennsylvania and the next stop would be Philadelphia-30th Street Street Station where we arrived at 9:58am, and departed at 10:00am, 1 minute late. So far, no issues with timekeeping and we had a beautiful day with nice temps and good light for photography as long as you were on the right side of the train (which I was!). We would pass by Penn Coach Yard once we got out of the Philadelphia Station but there was hardly anything in it today. We eventually crossed the Schuykill River in Philly and I got a few nice pix going over that bridge. Later on, we would cross the Delaware River and head into the state of New Jersey with the next stop of Trenton, the state capital, coming up. We arrived at Trenton at 10:26am and quickly departed at 10:28am, running 1 minute late. We crossed many rivers along the route. It definitely helped having the Maps app pulled up on my iPhone 5S as it gave me an idea of where I was. We made our next stop at Newark, NJ at 11:03am and departed at 11:04am, 1 minute late. An announcement was made that the Cafe Car would close at Newark and would reopen once the train departed the next stop of New York Penn Station. I started to gather up my stuff (only had the camera bag, no tripod), and we eventually headed into a tunnel and went underneath the Hudson River, heading for my destination which would be the next stop at New York Penn Station. Shortly before the train pulled into the station, another announcement was made that all passengers continuing north out of New York would need to have their tickets re-scanned by the conductor and to have them out so they could be scanned. I have no idea why this was necessary but it didn't apply to me as I was getting off the train here anyway. We arrived at Penn Station at 11:19am, 2 minutes early, so there were absolutely no issues at all with timekeeping on this train. As I was getting off the train, I couldn't help but hear the song "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra playing in my head!
  I headed up to the upper concourse inside the station. One thing I like is that Amtrak calls this station "Pennsylvania Station - New York" once inside as well as on outside signage. The original station here was owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad and was a beautiful architectural masterpiece of a station. That was of course, until Madison Square Garden was built on the property and the station was relegated to the basement, which is what Amtrak as well as the Long Island Railroad Commuter trains as well as New York City Subway trains use today. I know there is a push to build a "new" Penn Station but if that should happen, it's likely several years away! I took a quick photo of the departure board in the station and headed outside to hail a cab as I was heading to the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum to see the first of four space shuttles on this trip. The cab fare including a tip was $12.00, not bad considering this is New York City!!! Check out the link below to see photos taken during my nice ride on the Northeast Corridor, and afterwards, go see the first space shuttle ever built, OV-101: Space Shuttle Enterprise!!!